Friday, February 12, 2016

An each-way chance in the 2016 Betfair Hurdle

Plenty of small fields at Newbury and Warwick tomorrow...

I've decided to look for an each-way chance in the Betfair Hurdle (3.35 Newbury) - the only race on the 'Super Saturday' card with more than eight set to face the starter.

The last horse older than six to win was Geos in 2004 and, with the prevailing going described as soft, heavy in places, those towards the top of the handicap are likely to have their work cut out.

Philip Hobbs saddles three with Richard Johnson riding course and distance winner Sternrubin. This one ran an exceptional race from the front in the Ladbroke at Ascot last time; headed narrowly on the run-in, he fought back bravely to secure the dead-heat with Jolly's Crack It trained by Harry Fry.

Zarib, another course and distance winner, was beaten just under seven lengths in sixth that day; Dan Skelton's charge  wears cheek-pieces for the first time here and, with the benefit of his rider's five pound claim, appears to have a chance of reversing that form.

Over the years the Pipe stable have targeted this race. They have clearly taken their time with Starchitect, one of the horses owners Paul and Clare Rooney took out of Donald McCain's yard in the autumn; the Sea The Stars gelding makes his debut for the Pipe operation sporting blinkers and a first-time tongue-tie.

Blazer and Modus both have obvious chances but are a little short in the market for my liking in such a competitive event.

Agrapart likes to race prominently but was well beaten behind Yorkhill in the Tolworth while Affaire D'honneur hails form the in-form Harry Whittington yard which currently boasts a 30% strike rate for the season and a profit of £37.37 to a £1.00 level stake. The chestnut gelding is less exposed than several in the field and connections feel there is more to come.

My copy of the Weekender informs me the Ladroke has never provided the winner of this.

Sternrubin will be popular at around 8/1 but priced 18/1 at the time of writing with both Coral and Paddy Power, Zarib is the each-way selection; both layers pay a quarter the odds five places.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Racing just off the pace selection Zarib (16/1) was asked for his effort three from home but he had little more to give, eventually coming home midfield in eleventh.

Agrapart (16/1) won this coming home an astonishing 11 lengths in front of Starchitect (16/1).